The Unity Candle has become an intricate part of the modern wedding ceremony and has been used for years, some suggest thirty or more years. It is generally seen in Christian wedding ceremonies, although there is some debate over whether Catholic ceremonies allow this tradition. There are many ways to carry out this tradition to make it personalized to your particular tastes, style, and family at your wedding.
The Candelabra Approach
One approach is to have a fancy tall candelabra on one side of the stage that contains two taper candles on the sides and another candle in the middle. The Candelabra is featured as part of the wedding decor and blends into the style of the day. These are usually rented from local vendors. At the start of the ceremony or during one of the songs that is part of the wedding ceremony the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom approach the candelabra and each light one of the taper candles. Then after the vows have been exchanged the bride and groom make their way to the candelabra and each take a taper candle and together at the same time use their taper candle to light the middle candle. Then they each blow out their individual candles. The bride and groom then replace their extinguished candles in the candelabra and make their way back to the alter to complete the marriage ceremony.
The Table Approach
The table approach allows a little freedom with both preparation and execution of the unity candle ceremony. Place a table to one side of the alter and decorate it according to your particular wedding style. On the table the two tapers can be in individual candlestick holders and the unity candle can be customized and on it’s own holder. Another option is to purchase a small candelabra from one of the many wedding favor or invitation companies. This small candelabra will fit nicely on the table and hold all the candles. To perform the ceremony there are a couple of options. Either the mother of the bride and mother of the groom can light the candles prior to the start of the ceremony or just prior to the bride and groom lighting their candle the mothers can light the candle. Having the unity candle on the table allows for a customized unity candle. It also makes the ceremony easier as you aren’t reaching up to light the candle. With the table you can literally see the two candle flames combining into one to light the unity candle which some find more meaningful.
Customized Welcoming Approach
With this approach the bride and groom are intent on blending their two families not just their two lives. There is a table to the right of the alter decorated to match the wedding style. On this table is the choice of individual candles or the candelabra. What makes this unique is the execution. After the vows a song will play or be sung. The mothers will make their way to the stage and each light their individual candle. Then they will step back to wait for the bride and groom. The groom leads the bride over to the table where they each take their candle and light the unity candle then extinguish their individual candle. The mothers have come up to surround their children. Once the candles have been lit and extinguished accordingly the bride and groom each turn to their mom and greet them with a hug and a kiss and then to signify the unity of the families they do the same to the other mom. Once this is done the mothers return to their seats and the bride leads the groom back to the alter where the wedding is completed.
The unity candle signifies unity and the blending of two individual lives into one single marriage. It’s a beautiful symbol. If this is used in your wedding use these options as a guide but also be creative and feel free to come up with your own ideas and ceremony that is meaningful to you and your groom as well as the families involved.